Guyana Energy Conference Marks New Phase For Industry Local Content
24 February, 2022 – Georgetown, Guyana – The Guyana International Energy Conference & Exhibition last week marked the start of a significant new phase for local content in the energy industry in Guyana. With more than 600 attendees, including four leaders of their countries (Guyana, Suriname, Ghana, Barbados) and major international oil company current and former CEOs (ExxonMobil and BP), the country is now established internationally as a multi-decade business opportunity.
The development work to date and building of the associated onshore support has been dominated by major international service companies, for example Schlumberger, TechnipFMC, SBM Offshore, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes. What the Guyana Energy Conference showed was the rise of a new generation of service companies to support the industry. Some of these are new entrants to the country, fast followers to the major service companies, now that the multi-decade future of the offshore basin is proven. Others are local companies and partnerships across a range of activities.
What a Difference Three Years Makes
The Guyana energy industry was first put in the international spotlight in a significant way in two events early 2019 in Houston, Texas; the Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy event 'Oil and Gas Development in Guyana' and the Guyana Petroleum Summit, the latter organized by TOTALTEC. A good cross section of attendees were at each event, however, they were more ‘industry insiders’ and those who follow international affairs related to energy in general.
Three years later, last week, the Guyana International Energy Conference and Exhibition held in Georgetown had a standing room only crowd for the plenary session, with 600+ filling the Marriott Hotel ballroom, well attended talks and panel discussions, and exhibition booth space sold out.
Attendees were a ‘who’s who’ of the oil and gas industry, engaged countries’ leadership and aspiring market entrants. The future is clear, Guyana will become a regional center for the energy industry. With the ‘first movers’ of industry support services well established, a new group of companies will provide the next phase of growth in local content.
First Mover Advantage in the Service Sector
If ever there were a case study illustrating the importance in business of being ‘first mover’, it is the Guyana energy industry.
ExxonMobil persevered exploring the area over the course of decades to ultimately find success in 2015. While there is much debate over the commercial terms, the company took ongoing risk in a high risk and cost environment, and now has a leadership position in a key basin for the future. Those who follow will be in a very different environment for negotiating rights to offshore blocks and future production.
In the service sector, a number of ‘first mover’ examples stand out - Guyana Shore Base, Inc. (GYSBI), Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and TechnipFMC.
GYSBI was formed in 2017 by four companies with a shared vision for what ExxonMobil would need to support its offshore activities. Each brought a critical ingredient; a base location (Muneshwers, Ltd.), experience in building and operating a base to international standards (Pacific Rim Constructors and LED Offshore Ltd., respectively), and deep industry experience in operations, in particular remote, offshore (TOTALTEC).
Today, just 5 years later, GYSBI operates 24/7/365 with more than 500 employees, 95% Guyanese, on a 28 acre site, with adjacent 100 acre industrial park, rapidly gaining occupancy. GYSBI continues to make significant investments in both increasing existing capabilities and adding new services critical to the industry.
Soon after GYSBI was formed, the three major international service companies, already operating in the exploration and appraisal phases - Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes - recognized the growth potential of Guyana and immediately moved to secure onshore space. For Schlumberger, this was within the new GYSBI support base, ensuring significant operational advantage.
Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes now have fully operational support bases and have been actively recruiting and training Guyanese for a range of positions, ensuring a head start on what would certainly be future competition for talent to ensure local content legislation compliance.
“The three major service companies have created a significant advantage for themselves through setting up operations support facilities very early, which will serve them well as activity continues to grow,” observed TOTALTEC CEO Lars Mangal. “They have operated with ExxonMobil in similar environments worldwide and showed a willingness to invest locally, including aggressively hiring and training Guyanese. A number came through the TOTALTEC Academy.”
When moving from the exploration to development phase, a different group of companies compete to take part, with a major scope being the subsea hardware to control and manage production. TechnipFMC is one of the major providers of subsea equipment and was successful in winning the Liza field work scope.
Once successfully established in the highly challenging deepwater environment, TechnipFMC had a significant advantage for future work. They leveraged this first mover advantage in Nov. 2021, being awarded the contract for the Yellowtail development, including 51 subsea trees and associated hardware and systems. To give a sense of the importance of Guyana in the subsea market, there are approximately 200-250 subsea wells completed each year.
The Next Phase for the Service Sector
The major international service companies have a depth of industry experience and ability to invest that gives them a significant advantage in a new frontier such as Guyana. They also have existing relationships with the international operators, and many get a head start through work during the exploration phase.
Now that the trajectory of the Guyana-Suriname basin is clear, there are two things happening in the service sector. First, there is a new wave of service companies looking to enter these two countries. The second is that established, major service companies are growing their supply chain through increased local content. A number are making Guyana their regional headquarters.
Most often, these smaller companies are pursuing a new set of industry demands, for example supporting production operations, manufacturing major consumables, developing training programs and building specialized facilities.
The established major service companies are building local capacity both internally and through outsource to Guyanese companies, either directly or by forming partnerships. These opportunities will begin mainly in onshore support, but will soon enter the offshore services business.
“It is fair to say that in terms of business potential, Guyana has been ‘de-risked’”, says Mangal. “Now it is important for these new, smaller international companies to find the right partners, the right contractual arrangements, and become ‘first movers’ in these new opportunities. Guyanese companies performing services offshore will be part of this next phase.”
The Guyana Energy Conference Highlights New Opportunities
Last week’s energy conference will be the first of many to be held in the country, expanding in size and scope, moving to cover regional topics as major international service companies establish headquarters in-country.
This recent event hosting experience will enable Guyana to become a regional conference destination, able to handle larger groups, with topics beyond energy. The hospitality and tourism sectors will be major beneficiaries in the future.
“This is the start of a new era for Guyana, in a number of areas beyond energy”, said Mangal. “For example there is an opportunity to sustainably develop our eco-tourism industry as an example to the world.”
Additional Resources Related to the Event
Guyana International Energy Conference & Exhibition website https://guyanaenergy.gy/
Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy event website
TOTALTEC is focused on the success of the energy industry in Guyana for the benefit of the country, its people, and partner companies. It does this through three areas: people, partnerships, and facilities. Qualified and motivated Guyanese develop through the International Petroleum & Maritime Academy, where more than 600 have been trained. Partnerships prioritize products and services that are starting points to grow from, creating new Guyanese led companies, for example Jaguar Oilfield Services. Facilities include Guyana Shore Base Inc (GYSBI, also a partnership) providing a complete range of services to offshore operations. The TOTALTEC 94% Guyanese workforce includes 6 nationalities with over 160 years of international oilfield experience. https://www.totaltec-os.com